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Early blitz sets up Sky Blues' Game One triumph in enemy territory

The NSW Sky Blues started fast and finished strong at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night to claim a 22-12 victory in Game One of the Women's State of Origin series.

In front of a record crowd of 25,492 the Sky Blues flew out of the blocks with tries to Emma Tonegato and Jaime Chapman inside the first 10 minutes to set up a lead they would never relinquish.

The Maroons had an early chance after Ali Brigginshaw earned a repeat set with a neat grubber kick but the Blues' line dropout went into touch without Queensland getting a hand on it so the opportunity was lost.

After Chapman made big metres up the right the Sky Blues capitalised when Olivia Kernick put Caitlan Johnston into space and the prop delivered the final pass for Tonegato to score. Rachael Pearson converted for a 6-0 lead.

Four minutes later the Blues had second after a poor kick by Romy Teitzel ended up in Chapman's hands and the 22-year-old flyer beat Evania Pelite and swerved around fullback Tamika Upton to score a sizzling 85-metre try.

Emma Tonegato Try

The Blues went further ahead in the 19th minute when Pearson knocked over a penalty goal after Tazmin Rapana had been pinged for holding down in the ruck.

A mistake by NSW allowing the kick-off to go dead handed Queensland a chance to mount some pressure and a grubber by Upton almost produced a result but Pelite could not control the bouncing ball.

Pearson added another two points early in the second half after debutante Makenzie Weale was penalised for hands in the ruck and the Sky Blues had a commanding 16-0 lead.

Tamika Upton Try

A trysaver by Maroons winger Julia Robinson on Tiana Penitani in the 40th minute denied the Sky Blues a third try but with their outside backs making huge metres the NSW team continued to dominate.

With the weight of possession starting to turn and Emma Manzelmann adding spark out of dummy half the Maroons got on the board in the 54th minute when Upton crashed over from close range and Temara converted to make it 16-6.

With Queensland finishing fast they came within inches of a second try in the 62nd minute when Manzelmann exploded out of dummy half and reached for the line but dropped the ball on the way down.

Needing a response to quell the Queensland challenge the Sky Blues turned to Johnston, who skittled several defenders and plunged over to stretch the lead to 22-6 for Kylie Hilder's team.

The Maroons had the final word when a Tarryn Aiken kick clean bowled Chapman and Emily Bass pounced to grab a consolation try which Temara converted from touch.

The historic best-of-three series now moves to Newcastle on June 6 where the Sky Blues will look to reclaim the Origin soil with a win on home soil.

Match Snapshot

  • Blues five-eighth Corban Baxter was placed on report in the second minute for making contact with the leg of the kicker.
  • Maroons halfback Zahara Temara was placed on report in the eighth minute for a hip drop tackle.
  • Blues skipper Kezie Apps was put on report in the 19th minute for a crusher tackle.
  • Blues winger Jaime Chapman ran for 140 metres and broke four tackles in the first half before finishing the night with 164 run metres.
  • Blues back-rower Yasmin Clydsdale was voted player of the match for her 13 runs, 162 run metres and 24 tackles while fellow back-rower Olivia Kernick amassed 171 run metres.
  • NSW came up with six line breaks to the Maroons' one.
  • Maroons winger Emily Bass became the first player to score in three successive Origin games having crossed in both matches in 2023.
Sky Blues back-rower Yasmin Clydsdale took home player of the match honours.
Sky Blues back-rower Yasmin Clydsdale took home player of the match honours. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos
  • Blues centre Isabelle Kelly came up with 158 run metres and six tackle breaks in a powerful display.
  • A record women's Origin crowd of 25,492 was on hand at Suncorp Stadium.
  • Maroons prop Shannon Mato made 155 metres from 15 runs.
  • The Maroons and Sky Blues are now level at 2-2 in the four Origin games played in Queensland.
  • Sky Blues forward Kezie Apps finished the night with ice on her right knee as a precaution.
  • NSW's back five of Emma Tonegato, Jaime Chapman, Isabelle Kelly, Jess Sergis and Tiana Penitani combined for 52 runs and 656 metres.
  • Queensland trailed 14-0 at the break, the first time they had been held scoreless in the first half in an Origin match.

Origin defence from the Maroons

Play of the Game 

One of the game's great athletes, Jaime Chapman, was at her explosive best during the opening half of the series opener. Chapman's try from long range in the 10th minute was an absolute beauty - using her power to break the line and then leaving Tamika Upton in her wake with a deadly swerve. All up she covered 85 metres and gave the Sky Blues all the momentum as they took control of the match to silence the home crowd.

Jaime Chapman Try

What they Said 

"It's really good to have someone like Jaime Chapman on your team when she's got that speed but all our outside backs, I'm really blessed with the back five that I have. The metres they make and put us on the front foot every time and then we get our forward pack to finish it off. We put a program together than we ran for six weeks. It was a pretty intense program, some tough sessions and dark days that we put the girls through, but we always made sure that we got that intensity in our sessions of what a game would replicate. There was a lot of talk about the girls not being ready because of the lack of games but they certainly showed everyone tonight that they were well and truly ready." - Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder

Sky Blues: Game 1

"The Sky Blues have a team that can score points all over the park so if you give a good team the ball [with our errors] then you are going to expect them to score. We have to learn from that. We tried to come out of that in the second half but just letting them get away to that lead... If Emma [Manzelmann] scores that try it's 16-12 and it's a different ball game but we have to learn from that... that's a kick in the butt to us, so bring on Newcastle. They have strong ball carriers with Jess and Izzy and Chappo, and we need to put an emphasis on stopping them. If we hold the ball then they are fatigued but we gave them too much ball and ended up fatiguing ourselves. We know what we need to do next game." - Maroons captain Ali Brigginshaw

Maroons: Game 1

What's Next

The Maroons and Sky Blues head to McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle for Game Two of the historic three-game series on Thursday, June 6. The third game will be played at Townsville's Queensland Country Bank Stadium on June 27.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.